ZEN by jeffcu28
A selfish artisan has poached the Empress Crane for his own prosperity, trapping her inside a painting. Solve the puzzles in the Temples of Yin and Yang by directing the flow of energy to uncover a forbidden ancient scroll. Guide orbs in the Maze of Fortune and seek consent from the Mandate of Pooffey before painting your way into the past and saving the Empress from her inky prison to restore Zen to the Sack Dynasty.
This is my third PSP level (second full level), and I would describe it more of a series of puzzles than platforming. I wanted to be more technically ambitious after I had experimented with platforming in Bird of Paradise, so this seems to be different from my first level in that respect. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time constructing and playtesting this level, so I hope you all enjoy my hard work.
I will try to leave feedback for as many responders as I can. If you have multiple levels, please specify which level you would like for me to a leave feedback for. Thanks!
This was my most ambitious project to date, and as a relatively inexperienced creator, I couldn't have done it without the help of two amazing creators whom I have the utmost respect for. I would like to thank Taffey for nit-picking on minor details and for sharing his good judgment on some tough calls. In addition, I would like to thank amazingflyingpoo for his technical expertise, particularly for teaching me what "one shot" actually does.
Of course, I couldn't have done all of this without the support from all members of the LBP PSP community who helped me grow as a creator, especially from the warm reception and criticisms of Bird of Paradise. Thank you everyone!
Thank you to everybody who posted on this thread, especially Lleonard, for all your help in making this level better!
Thank you to JKThree for the youtube video!
- Fixed emitter problem so orbs never stop opening the gates.
- Made the lifetime of the top platform on the logo a little bit longer.
- Redesigned the "ball and cloud" puzzle to be more obvious.
- UPDATE: Cloud puzzle now has magic mouth cutscene, sounds, and minimal dialogue for guidance.
- Sealed spot where you can jump into the background in the cloud puzzle.
- Got rid of the LBPC logo.
- Added a new koi pond painting in logo's place, dedicated to all those who helped me with those problem areas. (You know who you are!)
- Added non-obstrusive point bubbles at the end.
Thanks for the feedback everyone!
- Featured on the Playstation Blog: LittleBigPlanet: Sack it to Me The ZOMG, Two Million Levels! Edition
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Thread: ZEN by jeffcu28 **Spotlighted**
ZEN by jeffcu28 **Spotlighted**
Last edited by jeffcu28; 03-07-2010 at 04:37 AM.
This looks beautiful. I literally can't wait to try it.
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
- Taunton, Somerset
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Due to the fact that its made by you jeffcu28, I'm already sure its a 5 star level!
Hey there Jeff!
THe first part of your level looked great, the Oriental theme worked really well.
However, I could not get past the place above.
What am I supposed to do?
Thank you so much for trying my level. Hmm. I thought that puzzle was rather simple. Here's a hint: look at the clouds above! I hope you can figure it out. My little brother had no problem with this section, so I thought it needed no explanation. If more people have problems, I guess I can add instructions. Thanks, and I hope you can finish it!
Wow! Absolutely incredible. Firstly congratulations on the visuals. The whole level is so incredibly stylish and beautiful, in particular the scroll section - some bits were very Okami, but at the same time not too derivative. While it was all lovely, my favourite parts were the stepping stone ripples and the colourful ending.
The puzzles are really intuitive, extremely clever, and well implemented. I liked how so many of the timed jumping and running sections were given a sort of raison d'etre by the energy balls. The paintbrush and scroll section - I suppose not really a puzzle - was totally ace. Oh, and the story was brilliant too.
For the sake of convention, I'm going to try some constructive criticism but I honestly can't think of much I'd change at all - In the section where the energy ball draws the two rows of platforms between the gas clouds, I felt the jumping there was a little more fiddly and tricky than the other sections. I died a few times there and while there's nothing wrong with challenge, obviously, it sort of disrupted the otherwise smooth flow of the level. I did have to wrack my brains to come up with a complaint though, so really it's no big deal.
(I know how to do stars now)
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- Feb 2009
- Ohio, USA
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Wow, this level is outstanding. This is by far my favorite level on LBP PSP, and it is certainly in the running for my favorite level on both PS3 and PSP! The things that you have done with visuals are remarkable. When I downloaded the retail version of this level (LOL, I just had to say that), I had already tested the level and played it through maybe 5 or 6 times, but even on this play through I was still blown away. Everything is incredible, but some things are just plain unbelievable. You have achieved something truly remarkable and unique in your art style, and it is something that no LBP level has done (or at least no level that I have seen).
Enough about art style though, lets talk about gameplay. The platforming and puzzles in this level are top notch. I wouldn't really say that any of the puzzles (except the new Poofey Puzzle, but I'll get to that later) jumped out at me as so original that my jaw dropped, but the way that the puzzles led to balls dropping, and then the balls trigged things that allowed you to progress was so unique and fun that I get excited every time I see it. I love how the level feels so dynamic, and you can see the things in the background which are controlling what is going on in the foreground.
So, let's chat about this Poofey puzzle now. I can actually see how someone could get confused at first. When I got to it, I was initially confused as well. I guess the problem is that for some reason, the emitting clouds were not super obvious to me, but after running back and forth in that small section for about 10 seconds I had figured it out, so I find it hard to believe that most people couldn't figure it out if they just put some thought into it. I loved this puzzle because it felt very original, and it had a dynamic aspect to it since you needed to keep the clouds emitting in order to keep the ball rolling to where it needed to go. I just loved this one, I'm so glad that 2.03 freed up some space so that you could add it.
Except for that, I don't have much more to say. Seeing as I just called it the best level ever, I'd hope that most realize that this is an excellent level and that they should give it a go.
On a side note that no one but you, Taffey, and me will understand, I gave the test (beta :P) version of this level a play earlier today since we were chatting about it, and I can't believe what a huge difference the emitter changes did. I didn't realize how much it was slowing down the painting part. I thought that there would still be slow down, but that it would only occur when the object emitted for the first time, but it seems that the slow down has disappeared altogether (at least when I played it this time), so congrats for getting rid of your slowdown!!!
I could go on all night about how awesome this level is, but I think I will just call it quits for now. I'm pretty sure that you will be hearing plenty more praise in the near future
Keep up the awesome work!
Thanks for the help jeff, I cannot believe my own stupidity. It really was very obvious, don't bother with instructions or anything. I agree with amazingflyingpoo (I love your name by the way). It's one of the best levels I've played on PSP. Needless to say, five stars and a heart.
I feel like i just woke up from a dream... your level is so amazing, fantastic, wonderful... i dont know all the words i would like to say in english (i dont even know them in german...) This is such an superb level! I am slightly demotivated cause i dont think i could ever achieve such great stuff! Innovative puzzles, a design that every other level has now to be compared to and so many never seen before ideas... I really love the scroll that has to be painted and the platforming through and above the different pictures. Really simple but effective and fun to play!The end is wonderful also!
Anyway i had two problems (one cause i didnt look accurate enough). I did not really notice the ball and the clouds and so it wasnt that obvious to me. Maybe because there are moving things in the backround all the time so i didnt thought of the solution...
My second problem is that i had to restart on may first play. At the area where the ball in the background slides to the right and opens gates and shoots platforms on his way, there werent any balls coming after i reached the checkpoint. I managed to go further by jumping from platform to platform but of course the last gate didnt open for me. I dont know if this did ever happen to one of you guys but i think it could be important for you to know!
After all i really love this level and of course gave it 5 stars and a heart!
One last thing. Do you guys beta test each others level via adhoc party? How should i keep up with you in creating without a ps3....? Thats unfair! *childish nagging*
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- Taunton, Somerset
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Wow... I'm amazed with what you made here... no complaints really, its perfect. Except I had to restart like Arrestor when the ball stopped coming. But thats just a wincy road bump in this level.
Hey jeff, I played the level, and I all I can say is that this level is the most beautifullest and most well polished level in LBP PSP so far. You out done yourself in the areas of both visuals and complexity. I have never seen so many switch combinations, and so much beauty in a black and white level in LBP PSP. I regret not playing earlier and I hope Cambridge will make this a Featured Level for all to play. So keep up the good work, and keep on imagining.
and a ♥.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of this level, but no matter how many times I play it, it still blows my mind. It's just so different, so amazing, so... Zen (ok, I had to say that) I just can't get over it. I agree with amazingflyingpoo that I don't think anything quite like this has ever been done on the PS3, and certainly not on the PSP.
I suppose I'll take the "poo approach" and cover the new stuff, changes, and things I might have forgotten to comment on before (or are worth saying twice). First of all, I don't think I ever commented on your corner editing work. It is SO good that it's easy to forget that the things you see in this level are actual SHAPES. It all really looks like an ink drawing and is just incredibly gorgeous. Visually, it is both simple and complex all at the same time - such a stunning overall effect. The gameplay is flowing, well-paced, and absolutely ingenious! There are so many unique elements in this level I just can't touch on them all. Rolling balls triggering emitted platforms, the "frame sliding" puzzle, the Mandate of Pooffey (LOL), the picture frame platforming bit... All just incredibly well thought-out and completely unique. This level is as fun to play as it is to look at. It's fun to listen to as well - the music tracks you selected are absolutely spot on perfect choices.
Problems? There were some? Well, I suppose I need to pick on something, but it just doesn't seem fair. Sure, the Pooffey puzzle isn't hit-you-over-the-head obvious, but I didn't have a problem with it. I ran back and forth a bit, said "hrm", and then figured it out. It was very puzzling at first, then quickly obvious and quite rewarding to solve. I loved that part and I'm very glad indeed you were able to fit that in! I don't think it needs any changes at all, but I suppose it could perhaps use a couple arrows stickers here and there to point out where the ball is supposed to go and/or where you're supposed to stand. Sounds would have been nice too I guess but that's a thermometer sucker for sure. I think it's totally fine as it is and doesn't need any changes at all. It's beautiful, flows wonderfully, and is highly entertaining. You just need to use your brain for 10 seconds to solve it is all.
Ok ok, I could gush about this level for hours but I suppose I'll stop here. Congratulations on creating an instant classic and a level that will never leave my PSP. The bar has officially been raised, folks. I'll be giving this 5 stars and a heart... as soon as I come out of my meditative trance.
EDIT: Ah, good to see the F4F heading! No feedback necessary for me - you've already taken care of that for me and then some.
Last edited by Taffey; 02-20-2010 at 08:19 PM.
You know how much I wanted to play this level since you explained it to me in a private message. I just love that kind of setting. Thus, the opening is truly outstanding. A live chinese painting.
The scenery is beautiful, the puzzles are unique... You can really feel this level is special, a masterpiece of design.
But there are some issues preventing me from giving it 5 stars (well, even preventing me from completing the level). And you don't know how sorry I am, because I know it could be a perfect level, one of the best... just not like it is now.
First: the LBPC logo. It's distracting for two reasons. First, it detracts from the scenery, it feels completely out of place. Everything is so stylish that having the logo in the middle of the palace is awkward and ugly. I don't mind the logo in other levels which are cartoonish, or that place it at the very beginning before the level starts. If that wasn't bad enough, having the logo there makes it really frustrating to cross that section, at least for me. The platforms appear according to the balls movement... but you can't see them because of the logo.
Also, I experienced the same problem as Arrestor. Suddenly, for some reason, the balls stopped appearing. For me, it happened before crossing the first door/pillar. I was trapped in that little section, not knowing if I was facing a bug or I was supposed to do something I couldn't see. Finally, I decided to restart the level, and this time everything worked fine. I still think that the pillars go up & down too fast, you barely have time to cross them by, but that's a minor thing that just adds more difficulty to the level, it's ok.
And finally, I became stuck at the same point as famouscustard. I thought I had reached a dead end, so I tried crossing the platforms the other way, but only met a wall and was very confused. Because of the lack of pointers when you activate the platforms (and let me tell you that this part is excellent as platforming experience), I wasn't sure of where I had to go anymore, if I had to find a hidden switch or what. I returned to the little temple with the clouds and while exploring there, I managed to jump into the background (the moving balls & ramps part... and I could cross the whole level. At first I thought it was a wise design, using the previous background as an extension of the level, until I became stuck and realized what was happening).
Then, I entered the forum to see if someone else had the same problem with this place. And now I guess that I will solve it next time I play the level, but sadly today I don't feel like doing it. (Personally, I think it's a weird design choice having moving elements all through the level, which you can't interact with, so you get used to them and actually forget about them... until at a later point you're required to use them with no indication of it.)
I hope you don't think I'm being harsh. I'm trying to be helpful and share some constructive criticism. This level can be a masterpiece but some details are making it feel worse than it is, and that's a shame.
As for the section you're describing, there's a hard way and an extremely easy way to pass it. Hehe. Jumping is a bit tricky as the space is a bit cramped, and no matter how much I played with the horrible gas to avoid easy kills, I was never satisfied with it being too thin or short as I felt it ruined the symmetry. After playing my level for about a bazillion times, I realized you can just run down without jumping! Yay!
P.S. I had to Wikipedia Okami, which seems like a really beautiful game...I'll have to check it out on my Wii!
Originally Posted by Arrestor
Originally Posted by ArrestorOriginally Posted by amazingflyingpooOriginally Posted by Taffey
Originally Posted by ArrestorOriginally Posted by Taffey
Whew. Thanks everyone for your comments!
Now to catch up on feedback,